Royalty, dominant and vital, she's unique in her hive, her perfume bewitching admirers who swarm around her, she's the Queen. (Bee)
Continuing my folklore series of prints, here's Queen Bee. The spirit of the hive she reigns with her pheromones which control the drones and worker bees to feed, care and mate. Until, that is her purpose is fulfilled and she is replaced by a younger more reproductive female.
This one has a bit of a message behind it – I am very interested in conservation issues and so like a few of my illustrations has another point of inspiration. Bees are essential to the survival of our planet and faced with so many challenges it is more important than ever that they are encouraged and protected. The Varroa destructor parasitic mite is destroying colonies across the globe. That along with the threats faced by bees from the increasingly unpredictable weather systems and habitat loss causing an alarming rate of Colony Collapse Disorder. Many native and wild bee species are more specialist when it comes to which plants they can feed from and so are really feeling the effect of habitat loss, with many species in decline or even disappearing all together.
Here are some close ups
I saw an article on 8 of the UK's most endangered invertebrates, and this image immediately came to mind – we always hear about all the large scale ecological disasters around the world that such small things as these can often go unnoticed and unappreciated. The threatened species are from top to bottom(excluding the crushed bits!) – Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, New Forest Cicada, Bog Hoverfly, Shrill Carder Bee, Hornet Robber Fly, Tansy Beetle, Rossers Sac Spider and the Ladybird Spider.
Here are some close ups: